Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 93., October 22, 1887 online

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Nigel Blower and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team


VOL. 93.

October 22nd, 1887.



As has been observed earlier in this series, the Amateur Reciter is
influenced by a natural ambition to harrow his audience to the best of
his ability.

And, be it said, the average audience is not at all averse to being
harrowed - provided this is done with any science and refinement. When
persons are met together for social enjoyment, nothing apparently
affords them keener pleasure than a performance which produces certain
peculiar sensations, such as the feeling of partial want of control
over the facial nerves, smarting behind the eyes, increasing
obstruction in the throat, and a general conviction that, unless
something occurs to make them laugh at once, they will be irresistibly
compelled to sob like so many seals. It is, perhaps, a little odd - but
the taste exists, and must be taken into account. The sole drawbacks
are that, too often, the means adopted to secure the desired result
depend more than should be upon sentiment which might almost be
described as false; that the incidents occasionally have too little
relation to real life; and that, what might have proved eminently
touching, is marred by some involuntary association with the ludicrous
and grotesque. In his anxiety to preserve his pupils from such
pitfalls as these, _Mr. Punch_ offers an example in which the
blemishes he has hinted at have been sedulously avoided. It is at once
homely, wholesome, and tear-compelling - like the common onion. You
will find you produce a favourable impression at once by announcing it
as, -


(_You must come on with a general suggestion in your manner that
you are supposed to be the proprietor of an itinerant Cat and Canary
Troupe. Begin with a slow and somewhat depressed shake of the head, as
if in answer to imaginary inquirer._)

No, we ain't performin' to-day, Sir, and the boys are all on the
At seem' the mice in mournin', and the cats in chokers o' crape;
But I'm giving the Show a rest, d'ye see? for I didn't feel up to
the job,
(_Pause - then subdued_) For my leadin' comejian's left me, Sir -
(_Explanatory, perceiving you are not understood_) - the brindle
kinairy - (_more impatiently_) Bob!
What, ye don't remember? (_Surprise._) Not him as wore the toonic
o' Turkey red?
What rode in a gilded kerridge with a 'at an' plumes on his 'ed?
And, as soon as we'd taken a tanner, 'ud fire a saloot from the
gun? [_Excitedly._
There was Talent inside o' that bird, there was, or I never see it
in one!
(_Philosophic bitterness._) Well, he's soon forgot - but I've often
thought as a
_fish_ keeps longer than Fame!
(_Sudden comprehension and restored cordiality._) Oh, ye didn't
know him as _Bob_?... I see - no, that were his _private_
I used to announce him in public on a more long-winded-er scale -
I christened him "Gineral Moultky," (_apologetically_) which he
_'ad_ rather gone at the tail;
And a bird more popilar never performed on a peripathetic stage,
He was allers sure of a round of applause as soon as he quitted
the cage!
For he thoroughly hentered into the part he was down for to play,
And he never got "fluffy" nor "queered the pitch," - leastwise,
till the hother day.
I thought he'd bin hoverexertin' hisself, and 'ud better be out of
the bill,
But it wasn't till yesterday hevenin I'd any ideer he was _ill_!
Then I see he was rough on the top of his 'ed, and his tongue
looked dry at the tip,
And it dawned on me like a thunderbolt - "Great Evings!" I
groaned, - "THE PIP!" (_Pause here, to emphasise the
tremendous gravity of this discovery._)
Well, I _'ad_ bin trainin' a siskin to hunderstudy the part,
(_more ordinary tone for this_)
And I sent him on - (_tolerantly_) - which he done his best, but he
'adn't no notion o' _Hart_!
So I left the pitch as soon as I could, and (meanin' to make more
I cut across one o' them buildin' sites as was left a runnin' to
There was yawning pits by the flinty road, as rendered the
prospeck dull,
And 'ere and there a winderless 'ouse, with the look of a grinning
(_Try to paint this scene visibly for the audience; background is
essential for what is to come._)
A storm had bin 'anging about all day (and it _broke_, you'll
remember, at last!)
So I 'urried on, it was gettin' late - and the Gineral sinking fast!
(_You are now approaching the harrowing part, but keep yourself in
reserve for the present._)
But all on a sudding I 'eard him give a kind of a feeble flap,
And I stops, and sez in a 'opeful way, "Why, you're up in yer
sterrups, old chap."

(_A bold metapher applied to a bird, but characteristic in the

(_Sink your voice._) Then I see by the look of his sorrowful eye
he was thinkin': "Afore I go,
I'd like to see one performance - for the last - of the dear old

(_Note, and make your audience feel, the touch of Nature here._)

And I sez, with a ketch in my voice, "You _shall_!" and I whipped
the sheet off the board,
I stuck up the pair o' trestles, and fastened the tightrope cord;
Then I propped the Gineral up in a place from which he could see
the 'ole,
And I set the tabbies a-sparring, and the mice a-climbing the pole.

(_Build up the whole scene gradually; the dreary neighbourhood,
the total absence of bystanders, the lurid threatening sky, and
the humble entertainment proceeding in the foreground._)

I put my company through their tricks - and they made my hold eyes
For they never performed for no orjence like they did last night
for _him_!
Them tabbies sparred with a science you'd 'ardly expect from sich,
And the mouse (what usually boggles) fetched flags with never no
Aye, we worked the Show in that lonely place to the sound o' the
mutterin' storm,
Right through till we come to the finish - the part _he_ used to
He was out of the cage in a minnit - egged on by puffessional pride,
He pecked that incompitent siskin till he made him stand o' one
Well, I felt like 'aving a good cry _then_ - but the time
'adn't come for that,
So I slipped his uniform over his 'ed, and tied on his little
cock-hat. [_With great tenderness._
And he set in his tiny kerridge, and was drored along by the mice,
A-looking that 'appy and pleased with hisself, I got 'em to do it
twice! [_Tone of affectionate retrospection._
The very tabbies they gazed on him then with their heyes dilatin'
in haw,
As he 'obbled along to the cannon, with the match in his wasted
I never 'eard that cannon afore give sech a tremenjious pop -
(_Solemnly._) And a peal o' thunder responded, as seemed all over
the shop!
For a second Bob stood in the lightning, so noble, and bold, and
big; -
Then ... a stagger ... a flutter ... a broken chirp - (_you can add
immensely to the effect here by a little appropriate action.
Pause,and give time for a solemn hush to fall upon the audience,
then, with a forced calm, as if you were doing violence to your
own feelings_) - he was orf, Sir, - (_a slight gulp_) - he'd 'opped
the twig!

(_Second Pause: then more briskly, but still with strong
emotion to the close_)

So now you've the hexplanation of the crape round the tabbies'
And kin understand why we close to-day "in token of our respecks."

* * * * *

The time has now come for _Mr. Punch_ to bid his pupils farewell,
which he does with a pleasure that he has some reason to hope will be
not unreciprocated. During the few months over which this course has
extended, he has made it his aim to furnish the young carpet-knight
for the fray as completely as possible, and, if the Amateur Reciter
be not (as some hold) already invulnerable, the panoply of pieces with
which he has been armed here should go far to render him so.

All _Mr. Punch_ would ask in return is that, when any one of his young
friends is retiring, flushed with triumph, amidst an intoxicating
murmur of faint applause and renewed conversation, after delivering
some composition of his Preceptor's, he will not suffer himself to be
completely dazzled by success, but will remember the means which have
contributed thereto with such gratitude as he may be able to command.

* * * * *

"DISCOVERIES AT POMPEII." - Under this heading we read in the _Times_
that four silver urns of fair size were found, also four smaller
vessels, eight open vases, four cups ornamented with leaves, &c.
"Urns" for hot water: "smaller vessels," tea-pots; "eight open vases,"
sugar-basins; "four cups," tea-cups, "ornamented with leaves," - very
fanciful design, probably tea-leaves, - and there we have before us
"Five o'clock Tea, as known to the Ladies of Pompeii."

* * * * *



_The Modern Autolycus sings_: -

When parvenus begin to peer,
With heigh! the ribbon on the coat!
Why, then the love of rank shines clear,
In base-blood, spite of the People's vote.

The medal gleaming on the breast!
With heigh! the red coins how they ring!
The Citizens clamour with eager zest,
Despite their hate of crown and king!

The _bourgeois_ soul star-honours wants,
With heigh! the peacock-aping jay!
The hunger for honours finds singular haunts,
Their sale is a traffic that's bound to pay.

I have served Princes, and, in my time, worn Imperial livery, but now
I am in the Republic's service.

But shall I mourn for that, or fear?
Gold glitters, silver's bright,
And decorations not _too_ dear
Citizen-souls delight.

If pedlars may have leave to live,
Though "honours" cram their budget,
A good account I yet may give;
If caught, - I can but trudge it!

Ribbons of all colours, lo!
Crosses - mark their gleam and glow!
Blue as violets, red as roses,
Buy them swift whilst power dozes!
Decorated thus you'll clamber
To court-height or lady's chamber.
Golden talismans are these.
_Parvenus_ may pass with ease
With these gauds to heights the leal
Buy with brain or stainless steel.
Come buy of me, come buy, come buy!
Cheap "honours" now is all the cry!
Buy ribbons - like tape,
Blue blood you may ape,
They're dainty, and not too dear-a!
With peers you may tread,
Yet hold up your head,
They're the newest and finest of wear-a!
Come to the pedlar,
Money's a meddler,
That gets _all_ men by the ear-a!

[_Has HIS ear suddenly pulled by Madame La République._

* * * * *

[Illustration: RETALIATION.


_Old Lady (quite able to take care of herself)._ "I BEG YOUR PARDON,


* * * * *


I've bin informed, on such orthority as I carnt for a moment dout,
wiz., Professor BASSINGHAM of the White Cross Brigade, that a cumpany
has bin formed in Amerrikey to perswade hewerybody as writes English
to spell it as I does. I never knowd afore but what I spelt my
spelling like other littery gennelmen, but I'm told now that I don't,
but that I spells it more nateral like, and so it appears that after
about 2 years thinkin of it over, the gratest Orthers in Amerrykey has
all resolved to follow my nobel xample and do as I does, as neer as
they can git to it. So they has formed theirselves into the "Spelling
Reform Association," and has got a Presedent, and Wise Presidents,
and a Counsel, and a Seketerry, and all the blooming luxurys of a rich
Cumpany, and has jest published their fust Number and charges fore
shillins for it, as I nose to my corst, cos I've jest bin and bort

Well, having jest a lezzure hour or 2, I've bin a trying to read my
noo book, witch is suttenly to me a dear book, but I greeves to say
as I don't find werry much in it, as I understands. They suttenly uses
sum werry powerful words, and sez sum werry powerful things, and
tries their werry best to spell like me, but I don't think as I can
troothfully say as they always suckeeds. They spels _hed_ like me, and
_helth_, and _dropt_, and _enuf_; but who ever seed me use sitch words
as _thru_, or _cof_, or _thuro_, or _tuf_, or _ughly_?

Professor CHADBAND, L.L.D., says that "our senseless spelling makes
him ashamed of his language, and yet thru habit he continues it."
DAVID D. FIELD, L.L.D., of New York, talks of our Nobel English Tung
"being disfigured," and says I ought to be haild as a deliverer!

Professor HADLEY says, "our language is shockingly speld." Lord LYTTON
says, "it is a lying round-about puzl-heded delusion!" and our own
heloqwent Sir C. E. TREVELYAN, K.C.B., says, "it is a labyrinth, a
chaos, an absurdity, and a disgrace!" and the Hedditer of the book
winds it all up by saying that "it is the wurst there is!" Poor old
English Langwidge! I ony wonders how SHAKESPEAR and MILTON, and
BURNS managed to get on with it, tho suttenly BURNS was a dredful
bad speller. Why he used to spell "who" _wha_, and "have" _hae_, and
"whom" _wham_! But then he was only a poor plowman, and not an Hed
Waiter. I of coarse little thort wen I fust commenced my umbel efforts
to instruckt and enliten the world with skimmings from my daily
dairy, that I shood ever be held up to the admirashun and gratitood of
English mankind as a deliverer of our nobel English Tung from its
many defecks, but I of course acceps the pursishun, and, I ope, with
becoming umility, and if the Spelling Reform Association chooses, as
seems ony nateral, to elect me as one of their Wice Presidents, with a
nice cumferal little salary paid quarterly, in adwance, I shall not at
all object to become also one of their regular contribbuters, or ewen
to hedit sum of their harticles as is really not quite hup to the mark
in the spelling line.

Professor F. J. CHILD, P.D., L.H.D., cums it rayther strong when he
says, "Sum hav a religious aw, and sum hay an erth-born passion for
our establisht spelling. I don't much care how anybody spells, so
he spels different from that." But praps one of the werry greatest
staggerers in my four-shilling staggering book, is what the Heditter
says, wiz., "A filologist who should uphold our present mode of
spelling, would be like an astronomer who should teach that the Erth
is based on a Turtl."

I think that's about the most wunderfullest sentense as ewen a
Hedhitter ever wrote, and they does sumtimes cum out with a startler
or 2. Fust with regard to the spelling. As I don't in the least know
what a Filologist means I carnt of course say much as to that, but if
there is one mortal thing in this butiful world of ours as I does know
sumthink about, I should think as all the ciwilized world woud agree
as it was Turtle, and I refuses at once, without no manner of dowt,
to pardon the man who coud carmly and cooly sit down and write that
almost sacred name without his final Hee! Turtl, indeed! why it amost
makes me shudder as I rites it down; and jest before Lord Mare's Day
too, why it's hadding hinsult to hinjury. But ewen that isn't all the
marwels of this most egstrordinary sentense. What in the world can he
mean by saying as the world is based on a Turtl?

Of course no one can posserbly know better nor me, that without that
glorious addition to a gorgeous _Manu_, the werry hiest classes of
society, such as Princes, and Lord Mares, and Bishops, and Aldermen,
woud find it remarkabel difficult to git through their harduous
dooties, but ewen I should never have once thort of saying that the
hole world is _based_ upon it, which I spose means, carnt posserbly
git on without it. No, if there's one thing as I strongly objecs to,
it's xaggerashun, and in this werry partickler case I boldly charges
it against the Hedhitter of "Spelling," price four shillings, even
though he and his frends does do me the hi honour of holding me hup as
a bennyfacter to all English spelling races.


Pose Cript. - I sees as how a gent of the xstrordinary name of "EIZAK
PITMAN" has been and gorn and rote to the _Times_ on this werry same
subjeck as me; but I'm two busy jest now with prepperrations for the
himportantest of all days - need I say the Ninth of Nowember - to be
abel to give all my hole mind to it, as it seems to require. But I at
once, without not no hezzytation and dowt, gives my caudial assent
to his Golden Rule, wiz: "When in dout, selekt the werry simpletonest


* * * * *

"IRISH PROSECUTIONS." - In the _Times_ of Friday last, under the
foregoing heading, that most contentious and sledge-hammering
correspondent, Lord BRAMWELL, came down heavily, very heavily, on the
unfortunate "American Lawyer," Mr. MUNDY, who had presumed to express
an opinion opposed to that of my Lord BRAMWELL. Of course, after this,
there's an end of the American Lawyer, and, at all events, up to
the date abovementioned, Lord BRAMWELL may say, triumphantly, "_Sic
transit gloria Mundy!_"

* * * * *



_Eaton Hall, Saturday._


DEAR TOBY, - I write to you from here where I stay a day or two on my
way to Dublin. I expect by the time it reaches you I will be installed
in the Chief Secretary's Lodge, and the National League may prepare to
sit up. I have been spending a week or two very agreeably in Scotland,
a little out of the way of letters or newspapers. I am told there has
been quite a demand for me, a sort of popular outcry that I should
forthwith proceed to Ireland. This is, of course, not unflattering.
It indicates a general belief which I, for one, am not disposed to
contest, that if Ireland is to be saved, I'm the man to do it. That's
all very well; but it is, doncha know, something of a boah to be thus
bothered at a time when one had two or three pleasant engagements on
hand. It used to be just the same in the House last Session. If I did
not really live there, entering with the Mace and the SPEAKER, and
leaving only at the cry of "Who goes home?" there were impetuous
protests. I put in KING-HARMAN at Question time, but they wouldn't
have him. Often, as I lay on the sofa in the Chief Secretary's room,
looking over _Punch_, or reading the proofs of the forthcoming new
edition of my _Defence of Philosophic Doubt_, I have heard the distant
growls of the Irish Members when KING-HARMAN rose to answer a question
addressed to me. Quite touching this personal attachment. At the same
time a little embarrassing.

Now I am really going to Dublin, and shall spend a cheerful November
there. GRANDOLPH, in his genial way, has tried to make things pleasant
by reminding me that from the drawing-room window of the Chief
Secretary's Lodge I can see the place where poor FREDDY CAVENDISH
fell. "They're sure to take a pot shot at you," he says; "but you're
all right. Unless a man can make sure of hitting a lamp-post at
fifty paces, it will be no use his trying to bring you down." A nice
companionable man GRANDOLPH. Always tries to say something pleasant.
But really I don't pay much attention to his kindly apprehensions. I
shall be boahed, I daresay; but not by the passage of a bullet, or the
thrust of a knife.

People evidently expect great things to follow on my arrival in
Dublin. To the accident of my holiday absence in Scotland they
attribute all the failures of the Executive. "If BALFOUR had been
there," they say, "W. O'BRIEN would now be comfortably in gaol and T.
D. S., Lord Mayor, would be laid by the heels." I weally don't
know. Fact is, I have not closely followed up affairs either in the
newspapers or despatches. There have been some rows, I understand.
But that is not unusual in Ireland. Where people are right in
kindly looking to me to restore peace and order in Ireland is in the
supposition that I have a plan. That is true, though I cannot claim
personal and private property in it. Fact is the plan is CROMWELL'S.
It worked admirably when originally put in practice, and I do not see
any reason why it should fail now. There are, of course, difficulties
in the way; prejudice to be overcome, legal forms to be dealt with,
and that sort of thing. There is also, next Session of Parliament to
be met, and awkward questions by TIM HEALY and the rest. But they
need not think to intimidate me by such reflections. I shall put
up KING-HARMAN to answer all inconvenient questions. Besides, it is
exceedingly probable that in the full development of my plan the Irish
Members who last Session distinguished themselves by "wanting to know"
will be unavoidably absent from their places. It is an awful nuisance
breaking in upon a man's holiday; but it is a difficulty that has to
be faced, and as there seems a popular inclination to look to me to
settle it, I suppose there is nothing to be done but to grapple with

One additional drawback from a quite unexpected source makes itself
known by correspondence with my colleagues. They are all in a dreadful
state of fussy alarm. My uncle the Markiss begs me to be careful.
"Firmness without Rashness" is an excellent copy-head, which W. H.
SMITH sends me in fine round-hand from the distant Mediterranean. I
wish they'd all mind their own affairs. In the intervals of my other
occupations I can answer for Ireland, and if any awkwardness arises, I
can put up KING-HARMAN to answer for me. So, dear TOBY, don't you
have any anxiety on my account. Some half-hour after dinner, with the
contemplative toothpick at hand, and my heels on the table, I will, if
the subject occurs to me, settle the Irish Question.

Yours faithfully,


* * * * *


That a child prodigy should have been able twice last week to fill St.
James's Hall to overflowing, may not perhaps speak at the first glance
very highly for the artistic instincts of the British Public, who, as
a thoughtful musical critic remarks in the pages of a contemporary,
are sometimes "more impressed by a little boy in an Eton jacket
than by the finest music that might be played in less exciting
circumstances;" still it cannot be denied that the couple of recitals
referred to, given by Master JOSEF HOFMANN, were altogether two
exceptionally brilliant performances. Commenting, however, on the
little fellow's efforts to give a good rendering of a slow movement,
the critic already alluded to asks how, in a long-drawn melody which
is a matter of passion and of feeling, "a child of eleven can have
much feeling or any passion?" Surely this is hypercriticism. Ask any
boy of eleven who has had a whipping, or has come off second best in a
fight with his little sister, whether he hasn't much feeling; - and as
for passion! Well: but, perhaps this is not exactly what the critic
means. Nevertheless, he proceeds rather pertinently to ask whether
this singularly gifted young artist will be suffered, "when he has
served the immediate purposes of those who have control over him,
to continue his studies in a rational manner and far from the
fierce light and the hot-house temperature pertaining to the concert
platform?" As Master JOSEF HOFMANN is already booked for an American
tour, there does not seem any prospect of this highly desirable
consummation, at least in the near future. Judging, therefore, from
little Master JOSEF'S present arrangements, one would be disposed to
apostrophise him sympathetically in the language of Dr. WATTS, and

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 93., October 22, 1887 → online text (page 1 of 3)